My grandson Jack has just qualified as a Private Pilot. His ambition is to become a commercial pilot.
We travelled from the Vritomartis Naturist Resort by boat to the small village of Loutro yesterday. The village is only accessible by boat or along a goat track. A delightfully charming little village with wonderful shops and tavernas.
Join me in the departure lounge at Aberdeen International Airport in Scotland as passengers get ready to board a British Airways flight to London. Aberdeen International Airport is a cosy, friendly but small regional airport. Friendly staff, and not at all like some of the UK’s bigger airports (Birmingham, Luton) which, it could be argued, should be avoided. I travelled via Birmingham Airport this week and met with some deeply impolite and unfriendly Logan Air ground staff at check-in. Not quite the friendly Scottish welcome I was expecting. A disappointing response. Get your act together Logan Air!!!
About 300 years ago when I was young and good-looking, I used to take every opportunity to watch the 1951 Ealing Studios film, ‘The Man in the White Suit’ (1951) staring Alec Guiness. No video recorders or DVDs in those days. One of the main reasons I liked the film was because of the fabulous sound effect used in the film (unmistakable if you know the film).
And so, I made my own version of the sound effect which I combined with the original – you can hear in the clip below. After that, you can hear the ‘White Suit Man’ sound effect I created (a tribute to the original sound effect!) on its own.
Here’s the original sound effect + mine. Then, below that, my creation.
And here’s my version of the sound effect on its own (image courtesy of IMBD)
Join me on the cliffs east Portsoy, Scotland and listen to the waves crashing onto the rocks far below us.
I see people from Poland are looking at my blog (from Flag Counter)
Like thousands of other people in the United Kingdom, we are offering the spare room of our house to refugees from the Ukraine. Our British Government is moving at a very slow pace and, until we can identify a refugee from the Ukraine in Poland (or any country near to the Ukraine), we cannot start arranging travel for these people. In fact, I feel ashamed to be British when I see what Boris Johnson is failing to do (all talk, no action and lies, lies, lies).
And so, if you are in Poland and if you can put us in touch with an agency/NGO who is trying to find accommodation for refugees in the UK (Scotland), then please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best. We have one spare bedroom, it would suit mother/child or older couple (senior citizens?). Naturally, we would NOT be charging rent for the use of our room. We want to help.
It really is time for Boris Johnson to go (along with his cronies).
Today, for the first time, I used two microphones on my parabolic microphone. Stay tuned for sounds of a stream that runs through the woods. The second mic on the parabolic microphone makes quite a difference – much richer soundscapes. I processed the sound in Adobe Audition to try and limit the wind noise. The wind rushing through the tree tops create quite a lot of background noise…
Take a look: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMLPeJask/
When people like this chap return to the UK, they could face being charged with a criminal offence by our Government. At that time, we need to support these men and women who are, in my view, heroes. We need to be ready for the actions of an uncaring government and people like that awful woman Priti Patel.
If you are in the UK, please circulate this post widely. These brave people (and their families) need our support now and will certainly need it in the future.
10 years on and I still listen to this all the time..
Join me and listen to the sound of a babbling brook near to Duff House, Banff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The sound was recording using a parabolic mic system manufactured by the Parabolic Microphone Company.
This was my first attempt at recording using the ‘para-mic.’ The gentle sounds of a small stream running through the woods.
More sounds to come!
A new microphone system!
I have purchased a parabolic microphone from the Parabolic Microphone Company.
Today was the first day I ventured out into the woods with the ‘para-mic’ to test it out – results below.
Briefly, the parabolic microphone is a directional mic. Basically, point it at a sound source and press the record button (listen to the babbling brook recording above).
On this first try out down in the woods close to Duff House, I forgot to put the ‘wind condom’ on the dish (second image below) and so I picked up quite a bit of wind noise. Moreover, there was a gentle but steady wind through the trees in the wood and that gave me a small amount of background noise which I’ve managed to reduce in post-processing using Adobe Audition.
The first recordings will be coming up shortly. Please stay tuned.
Join me aboard the 315 bus that leaves Amsterdam Central Staton and travels out to Monnickendam and beyond.
As ever in the Netherlands, the bus is spotlessly clean…
Why not join me for a tram ride between Amsterdam Central Staton and Dam Square? The announcer comes on at around 2 minutes 40 seconds…
What happens when a rare callsign pops up on the Morse (CW) part of the Amateur Radio
bands. The chaos starts around 17 seconds in!
More sound files and sound effects to follow.
I found this old picture somewhere…not sure where it comes from but, can’t help thinking it is topical given the way journalists are targeted these days. Let’s hope for a better world.
I know, it has been a long time since I posted anything…let’s get back into it with a chicken!
Here are two remarkable people who record sounds out there in the real world. I always feel that my dull images and videos could be spiced up with sound and that I should be recording more sound. These two people are my inspiration! Also interesting to see how much you can earn when you run a YouTube Channel.
Findlater Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Built in the 1400s, abandoned in the 1600s. One owner, Sir John Gordon, fell out with Mary Queen of Scots and she had his head chopped off (I bet that hurt). Later, Queen Elizabeth 1 of England did to Mary Queen of Scots what Mary did to Sir John Gordon. It surely didn’t pay to upset people way back then! Off with their heads! Ouch!
Findlater Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland – built around the 1400s
An old favourite revived…
My wife asked me to order two new broom handles online and, being the obliging, highly obedient, house-trained and dutiful husband I am, I did as I was told (is there any other alternative?). The image shows what arrived in the post this morning. I think, perhaps, I got my measurements wrong. If anyone can think of a use for two very short bits of stick, please let me know.
Spring has brought an explosion of colour along the Scottish coast
Here’s Arushi Jain playing her music. You can read more about Arushi by clicking here. Peaceful music.
The great song that goes with this video by The IronWeed Project
Another one for the grandchildren…
Note: the iPhone digital zoom not so hot!
Please click here to listen to our interview with Sir Richard Dearlove.
Okay. I lied about the last blog post of the year (previous post).
But, if Boris ‘pilllock‘ Johnson can lie to the world repeatedly, then so can I!!!
If you look at John’s blog post (please click here), you’ll see he’s getting QRM on 540 Khz. QRM is radio-speak for interference or, maybe, jamming.
John is in Las Vegas and I’m in Scotland and so, I tuned to 540 Khz on my radio to see what I would receive here on the fashionable side of the North Atlantic. And what I get on 540 Khz is a station broadcasting in a language I do not recognise. Please take a listen to the video below. If anyone knows the cause of John’s interference (I wonder about his ceiling fan!), or the language recorded in my video below, please do let us know.
Happy New Year again. This might really be my past blog post of 2020. Let’s hope for a wonderful 2021.
STOP PRESS. I just found this.
My grandson completes his first solo.
Please listen in to our most recent Banff Spy podcast featuring Iona Reid who is a young, up and coming actress based in Turriff in North East Scotland.
You can listen to Iona talking about acting and acting training by clicking on this link.
Please check out our Banff Spy website by clicking here.
And he’s a photograph of Iona who is also the Banff Spy Podcast Producer:
The Morse Code had everything to do with the sinking of the Titanic and it was also used by Secret Agents everywhere..
Please take a listen to our latest Banff Spy podcast about the Morse Code by following this link:
All done using Photoshop’s new neural filter…
You might think that Morse code had died out long ago. Here’s a recording of what is known as a ‘pile up.’ About 11 seconds into the recording, you’ll hear Radio Amateur enthusiasts around the world trying to make contact with one person who has a rare callsign. Radio Amateurs record the contacts (AKA QSOs) with other Radio Amateurs around the world and collect contacts like other people collect rare stamps. The Morse code is alive and well!
<iframe width="100%" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" allow="autoplay" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/911665330&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true"></iframe><div style="font-size: 10px; color: #cccccc;line-break: anywhere;word-break: normal;overflow: hidden;white-space: nowrap;text-overflow: ellipsis; font-family: Interstate,Lucida Grande,Lucida Sans Unicode,Lucida Sans,Garuda,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif;font-weight: 100;"><a href="https://soundcloud.com/rrr700" title="The Photo Nomad" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;">The Photo Nomad</a> · <a href="https://soundcloud.com/rrr700/morse-code" title="Morse Code" target="_blank" style="color: #cccccc; text-decoration: none;">Morse Code</a></div>
Part 2 of the first of our podcasts.
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I bet you weren’t expecting this!! Now you get to listen to me and my wonderful colleagues!
It’s all very quiet at Macduff Harbour today…
Katy learns that time and tide waits for no man (or dog).
The Conservative Party – a bunch of lying crooks…
I’m not sure why the phrase ‘Gird Your Loins’ sprang to mind when I created the image below (lockdown lunacy). Perhaps the rope had something to do with it. The image overall looks, I think, like some kind of strange space alien warrior. I can’t help thinking, also, that this is a female space alien. The image was created using a Photoshop plugin from Flaming Pear.
And, I searched on ‘gird your loins’ and found the second image in this post which brought me to a some wonderful art and illustrations by Ted Slampyak Kinyak his site is really worth looking at. You’ll find some wonderful illustrations on Ted’s site (click here to visit).
And so now, you can go out and gird up your loins……
I’ve been talking to John in Nevada about the need for exercise. We are lucky, we live in a sparsely populated area and so we can take our dog for long morning walks without meeting many (or any) people. The problem is, the 5 Km walk doesn’t offset the intake of chocolate hobnobs (an essential food item surely?). Here’s our route map.
PS: map tipped over sideways so it will fit on the page better.
Here’s some most wonderful advice from a most helpful young lady.
I promised to send John in Nevada an image of the boats in MacDuff Harbour at low water. We’ll, we’re just past low water and the tide is well and truly out and below you can see PD182 sitting on the harbour bottom waiting for the tide to come in. The bottom of the harbour is a mixture of mud, sand and silt and so the boats cannot come to any harm. They just sit there in sludge for a few hours every day. When the tide is out and the boats are sitting on the harbour bottom, you can see that these fishing vessels have a deep draft. They’re built for the very worst conditions you will find out in the North Sea and the North Atlantic.
Now, I know I’ve photographed some very strange chickens in my time but this really has to be the strangest…
PS…for the public good, some software programmes should be left well alone (i.e. Symmetry).
I’m not talking about Boris Johnson here. Here’s somebody with so much more and better to offer. For educators and trainers (I is one). Character Animator is such a gift.
Good to hear the next Wes Anderson film is due out this year. We have to wait until August though (in the UK at least). Wes Anderson – perhaps one of the greatest film makers ever…
It’s a very windy day today here in Banff. Not a good day to be at sea! Storm Ciara certainly huffing and puffing…
Only the Brits could make a jet aircraft using wood (see image below). In these days of carbon fibre, I feel wood is much underrated as a building material. Bring back wood (and a few more trees). Don’t you just love the touch, smell and feel of wood?
Those of us (and we are a vanishing breed) who can send and receive Morse code will be able to pick out ‘The Quick Brown Dog’ sent in Morse code from this interesting video. I think it should be ‘The Quick Brown Fox’ but who cares. There was a time when I earned my living sending and receiving Morse code messages. Hard to believe these days but it does prove that I am a VERY OLD MAN!!!
I have a feeling this is where people working in MacDuff Harbour took their horses for a drink of water years ago before motor vehicles came along. On the other hand, it might be the strangest (and most public) toilet I have ever seen!
Some Christmas music for everyone!
Do Boris Johnson’s eyes look any less sinister or more trustworthy after they’ve been pushed through Photoshop’s new Create From Image Filter. Short answer – Nope!
More fun with Photoshop’s new Create From Image tool. See my previous post for details.
A slight reworking of this earlier image…
I’ve returned to Banff after two weeks away in England. We went on a long walk to Whitehills (the next small town along the coast westwards from Banff) and back with the dog today. You can see our GPS track in the image below (total distance 6 miles). We enjoyed a lot of meandering when we were throwing the ball for the dog (who has never got the hang of ‘fetch’) on the beach. We also saw grey seal basking on the rocks at Whitehills, curlew and a heap of other sea birds were dishing about like wind-up toys on the beaches. There were heaps of other seabirds diving into the sea with ferocity in order to catch their breakfast. The Scottish landscape is beyond breathtaking and we find ourselves living in a small town which must be one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. And, by the way, Whitehills famous for this.
Note to self………remember to take the camera next time!
It’s what happens when you put an idiot in charge of a country.
WE NEED BORIS JOHNSON LIKE WE NEED CHOLERA!
An image from my very good friend Jeanine who lives in New York State.
An image from my very good friend Jeanine who lives in New York State.
An image from my very good friend Jeanine who lives in New York State.
Me and the dog have decided to have a lazy blog day. Not too many posts today. You are all spared!
Calling all spies!!!
Backstabbing, interdepartmental rivalry, leaks, lies, deception and dishonourable behaviour.
No, we’re not talking about the UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet or the current Brexit shambles. We’re talking, instead, about the highly secretive Special Operations Executive (SOE) also known as ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’ or ‘Churchill’s Secret Army.’ For American readers, the SOE formed the blueprint for the OSS which, later, became the CIA.
The author of the book, Leo Marks was certainly an irregular and he was the man who took care of the code making within the SOE. Leo’s book doesn’t only talk about secret codes, it details how the SOE grew and changed during World War 2. The SOE was the department that parachuted many extraordinarily brave people (agents) into occupied Europe. In many cases, the agents were caught and tortured and executed by the Nazis.
Among many other things, Leo’s book also discusses the rows and rivalries which took place between the UK’s various military and government departments during World War 2. Some things never change!
If you are interested in espionage, counter-espionage, secret codes, and how World War 2 was fought on many different and surprising fronts, then this is the book for you.
I give Between Silk and Cyanide a well-deserved Richard score a 10/10
PS: there is a curious cross-link between Leo’s book and 84 Charring Cross Road.
A ball of fluff caught swimming around our boat today….
If, like we do, you live on a boat then the human waste (AKA pee and poo) has to go somewhere. And so, we have a sealed (very much sealed) tank on the boat known as the Black Tank and, every now and then, we go to the ‘Poo Sucker’ which empties the gently fermenting contents of tank into the town sewage system. Dumping human waste into the sea, canals and rivers is not allowed. Pumping out is a very quick, easy and fragrant process. The image shows the machine which sucks out all the waste.
Our dog, Katy, waiting patiently in the wheelhouse for her morning walk. Humans can be SO lazy and unresponsive!
Better out that in……..that’s what I say!
Well, I have done the odd film review (usually out of the ordinary films) in the past but now it is time for the odd book review too! I’ll go to any lengths to bore people rigid!
Please see my most recent film review + links to other film reviews here.
I’ve been working my way steadily through books I read many, many years ago and I came across a Kindle version of Trustee from the Tool Room written by Nevile Shute . I must have read the book for the first time in the 1960s. Nevile Shute wrote several books which were made into films – notably, A Town Like Alice and On The Beach
Now, you might think a book published in 1960 would be outdated but a good story remains a good story no matter when it was written (think Dickens here).
Trustee From The Toolroom was written before satellite communications, satellite navigation, cellular telephones, fibre optics, wifi and the Internet. This book will take the form of a nostalgia trip for the old geezers like me and, for youngsters, it will provide an interesting insight into the way things used to be before we were deluged with the technology that surrounds us today and the technology we now take for granted. And, by today’s standards, you might find some of what might be described as politically incorrect language just a little jarring but this is a book of its time.
Engineers and technical people might enjoy this book.
Reading Trustee From The Tool Room is a little bit like watching one of those old black and white films from way back. Basically, it is the satisfying story about an unassuming yet talented and skilled man who goes sets off an extraordinary adventure for valid and noble reasons. Like I said, a good read.
I give Trustee From The Tool Room a Richard score of 9/10